- Courtesy Jimmy Hallyburton
- BBP announced just under $102,000 in donations had been collected to help fund a major expansion.
When her class secured a grant from CenturyLink, Anser Charter School teacher Allyson Maynard turned to her seventh- and eighth-grade students and said it was their decision on where in the community the money should go. The answer, they said, was as simple as riding a bike: The money should go to the Boise Bicycle Project.
“BBP kept telling us, ‘Even if you don’t know how to fix your bike, you can go in and they won’t just fix it for you. They’ll teach you how to fix it,’” Maynard said. “It’s empowering for the [children] to be able to know that.”
Maynard's class donated $1,500 to BBP, which helped the nonprofit collect a total of nearly $102,000 in three months. BBP was then able to secure $100,000 in additional corporation donations and foundation grants, reaching reach its goal to fund a 2,000-foot expansion. a
BBP executive director Jimmy Hallyburton said Friday, if all goes as planned, the remodel should be completed by October, in time to coincide with BBP's ninth anniversary.
BBP's new second level will also include extra office space where other Boise nonprofits can meet. The add-on will also be soundproofed, keeping sound from the warehouse from being a deterring factor from putting on more youth and community education programs.
“We have a youth educator here who does a lot of bicycle mechanic apprenticeship programs who teaches a lot of at risk youth about bike repair, bike safety and how to maintain their own bike,” Hallyburton said. “It’s a great program, but it is limited because of our shop space being used by other things, but also because of how loud it is. By having a second classroom and a separate work area in that warehouse area, he’ll be able to expand those classes.”
BBP currently donates about 700 bikes to kids a year. Hallyburton estimates the new space should allow for an increase to more than 1,000 bikes donated annually and will also allow for approximately 2,500 bikes to be recycled each year.
“The demand is just there. A lot of [kids] have parents who don’t have access to transportation or can’t pick them up from school. This is really key for kids to have access to after-school programs and to engage in our community,” Hallyburton said. “We always look as it as more than just a bike, but a tool that connects people to the community.”
- Courtesy Jimmy Hallyburton
- BBP's expansion is expected to be complete some time in October.
“The last several months, we’ve had a lot of interest from our inmate population where they want to do more, they want to volunteer more, they want to give back more," said Alicia Carver, a correctional lieutenant with the Idaho Department of Corrections at SBWCC. "So we took it as an opportunity to come up with something creative.”
Additional donations were made by SBWCC staff and a local Panda Express franchise.
Carver said each week, inmates repair about 29 bikes through the Shifting Gears Program which began in February. Upon release from prison, each inmate who has fixed at least 15 bikes get a voucher for a free bike from BBP.
“One of the complications a person faces when they are released from prison is they don’t have a means for transportation,” Carver said. “They don’t have someone to take them to and from work, so a bicycle to get them around town could make the world completely different for somebody.”
Maynard also realizes the positive effect BBP can have.
“A lot of businesses wouldn’t accept young people as having an important role,” a said. “But [BBP] empowers students and shows them that there are alternatives to cars. [Bicycles] give them the freedom to move around in the afternoons and the summers without having to rely on getting a ride from people.”